Grant County Extension Connection

Episode 5: Grant County Copper CowBelles & Cattle Ranching

January 24, 2020 Jessica Swapp, Pat Hunt, Judy O'Loughlin, Jeanette Hamilton Season 1 Episode 5
Grant County Extension Connection
Episode 5: Grant County Copper CowBelles & Cattle Ranching
Show Notes Transcript

This episode will focus on hearing from the newly elected 2020 officers of the Grant County Copper CowBelles. We will be discussing what the Copper CowBelles do, current threats to the cattle industry and the goals of the officers in their duties for the upcoming year. We also discuss the economic impact of the cattle industry in New Mexico and our local economy.
 
 Song Credit
 Hooky with Sloane by Bird Creek Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported— CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/... Music provided by FreeMusic109 https://youtube.com/FreeMusic109
 
 Music :
 MNC Music No Copyright Channel all free music to use in your videos
 
 http://linkshrink.net/7ZBb8V  ✔️ Music No Copyright 🎵

 

Jessica :

Welcome to the Extension Connection podcast. The Grant County Cooperative Extension Service is here to help connect you with research based information about economic development, energy and water, farm and ranch, yard and garden, natural resources, health and well being, and our very popular youth development program 4-H. I'm your host, Jessica Swapp, the 4-H and agriculture agent here in Grant County, New Mexico. We are part of New Mexico State University's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Science and we are here to serve you. So let's get started. Before I get started on the podcast today, I wanted to let you know about some upcoming programs that will be offered by the Grant County Extension office. The first one being a kitchen creations class, a Judy O'Loughlin, the family and consumer science agent will be offering these classes on Saturday, January 25th and February 1st from 9 to 3:00 PM lunch will be served. It's here at the Grant County extension office at 2610 North silver street in Silver City, New Mexico. Please call (575) 388-1559 to sign up. And these classes, you will learn how to plan meals that help manage diabetes, practice cooking foods, in healthier ways. Get a free manual and cookbooks and enjoy the support of others who are living with diabetes. For more information, again, give our office a call, (575) 388-1559 and get on the list to attend the kitchen creations class.

Speaker 4:

Hi everyone. Welcome to the podcast today with me here. I have four ladies that have just been elected to the Grant County Copper CowBelles. They are the officers for the 2020 year. Here with me, I have president Pat hunt, vice-president Judy , O'Loughlin secretary Janette Hamilton and treasurer Tenisha Fell. So thank you for being on the show, ladies. Thank you for having us. Thank you. All right . So let's talk about a little bit of background on each of you. Some agricultural roots, cattle ranching , um, ties to the area. We'll start with you Pat.

Jessica :

Okay, well, irony of ironies. I grew up as an urban kid, but I married a rancher about 35 years ago and my husband and I have a ranch West of Silver City in the burrow mountains. So I also have a degree in agriculture from Arizona State University. All right . And Judy, how about you?

Judy O'Loughlin:

Hello, my name is Judy O'Loughlin. I had the great privilege of growing up on little family ranch out at Buckhorn. Um, so I lived there from the time I was two until I graduated high school. So like many of the small family ranches around here these days , um, we don't have that in our family anymore, so I am a member of the CowBelles because I still like to see , um, the beef promoted and that way of life. So that's why I'm a Copper CowBelle.

Jessica :

Awesome. And Jeanette , how about you?

Jeanette:

Hi. Uh , I went to school at crown point. I'm a Rez kid. Graduated from Gallup High School and I grew up , uh , the hard way on horses and breaking bones and stuff. And um buying and selling cattle with my brother Al. And he had ranches and uh, lived on his ranch for a while and when I moved here I wanted to continue that. So I've had a horse and been involved with the horses. Uh , I believe in this lifestyle. It's a great lifestyle and that's why I'm a part of it.

Jessica :

And Tenisha.

Tenisha :

um , I just grew up in the 4-H program and through 4-H and really wanted my kids to experience that. So we've really pushed our kids to be part of all of the ag things that 4-H does and for retirement, because my husband retires in two years. We have cattle already started and so we're going to be cattle ranching for retirement.

Jessica :

Awesome. So you're moving from, you know, these, these other jobs to the job you really want to have, which is the cattle ranching business.

Tenisha :

Out of the offices, out into the ground .

Jessica :

So the Grant County Copper Cowbelles what, what are the Cowbelles what do they do? What does the organization do?

Pat:

Well, you know , the group started in Douglas, Arizona over a close to 80 years ago and it was a group of, of the, the wives actively involved in the ranching business that wanted to have a way to get together and support. It actually started out more as a social event every once a month, but they would meet at the different ranch houses and , and potluck and whatnot. But it evolved into a group that supported the industry, the beef industry, cattle ranching. And their primary goal at this point is beef education so that people understand the nutritional benefits of beef and all of the things that all of the industries that are supported by the beef industry.

Jessica :

What is a , the local group doing to, to take on some of that beef education. What do you guys do in the community here?

Pat:

Our biggest event every year is , is the grant County Fair where we have a table full of, of , uh, information, pamphlets, et cetera. We try to answer as many questions as we possibly can. We have posters that support the new and display the nutritional value of beef, et cetera. And so we do other things in the community and we just recently , um , set up a family dance. And of course we just, that's our way of paying back to the community, but also to make sure that people know who the cowBelles are.

Jessica :

Right. And I want to add to that, your group really takes on trying to dispel some of the, the myths that are out there about the beef industry , um , about beef itself as a product. So it's really easy to get on Google. We can, we can all understand that, that if, you know, I'm, I'm someone who doesn't understand the beef industry. I get on Google or I'm on Facebook, I see all these pictures of people mistreating you know, animals and all these things and I all of a sudden just assume that everyone is like that. Um, or that that's the truth because I don't know any different. So your group really goes out and tries to kind of combat, you know , that type of , uh , misinformation , um , and really get the truth out there about what cattle ranchers do, especially to cattle ranchers here. What would you say , um , are the, the current threats to the industry as a whole? Um, as well as here locally?

Jeanette:

The anti the anti beef movement, which for some reason wants to get rid of our lifestyle.

Tenisha :

People don't realize how many products they use daily that are beef by products. You eat a marshmallow, you eat a candy with marshmallow in it, you're eating a beef by product. It's not just the, the meat. There's other things that come out of beef that are used daily...

Pat:

...such as insulin, which is very important to so many people's lives.

Tenisha :

There's so many by products that people don't understand come from beef that are essential to like insulin. If someone didn't have insulin, they would not be able to live.

Pat:

Correct.

Tenisha :

And so those people that want to shut beef production down well you're, you're now creating a bigger, a bigger problem.

Judy:

Every part is used. So they use every part for something. And how many uses are there like over.

Pat:

over a hundred.

Judy:

over a hundred, and then the general nutritional value. And in beef itself, it's hard to get a perfect protein like beef. Um, and then the iron content. So it's really hard to make up those different nutrients where you can get it in one serving of a lean cut. There are a lot of lean cuts that are, are out there and people are getting , um, the information is gone from one side to the other and it's now coming back on our side, kind of like the egg thing or eggs were not good for you and now they're good for you. Again. Well beef, the information is coming back about what a good value that it is for the nutritional value that you get in a serving of lean cuts of beef.

Pat:

Absolutely.

Jessica :

I want to add to that was a Judy O'Loughlin talking there. She is the family and consumer science agent here for our office and a lot of her job title is nutrition education. So she is definitely up to date on her facts , uh , reading a lot of peer reviewed research about the health benefits of beef. Another thing I wanted to ask is you guys are very heavily involved in the community. Uh , whether that be with the local 4-H program. The FFA chapters , uh , schools you offer scholarships. Do you want to talk a little bit about that?

Pat:

Well, for years we've been offering , um, if you're a sophomore in high school, having graduated from a Grant County High School, your a sophomore in college and you are pursuing an agricultural degree , um, you can possibly qualify to have , uh , a scholarship to go to continue your college education. This last year we also made the decision to support the rural way of life more actively and we began offering our scholarships to people that were pursuing professions in trades such as lineman , electricians, welders, et cetera.

Jeanette:

We need trades people.

Pat:

We need, we've decided that we've got to fill that niche, help fill that niche with the people looking at trade jobs because all of the country needs trades. But the rural areas especially need people that will stay in their communities and do things like small engine repair or linemen jobs.

Jessica :

So going along with our kind of beef education, a a question I wanted to ask you is what would the world look like without beef? What would our local County look like without beef production?

Pat:

For one thing. Um, the ranching industry in Grant County is like is one of the major employers and has one of the highest economic impacts on Grant County itself. We realize the mines are very important and you know, local government and the hospital , but the, the ranchers use local goods and provide jobs for people that also spend their money in the community. As far as the landscape, we need to continue to educate people that that cow is out there, one turning grass into an edible protein that is very lean and nutritious, stirring up the ground and, and dispersing seed and keeping that ground from becoming so hard packed that it won't grow anything. The rancher that's out there maintaining their cow herd are providing a sources of block of salt block and water sources for all the other wildlife that was up that is out there and it really doing a dual purpose by, by providing good wildlife habitat.

Judy:

And the grazing keeps the grasses shorter. And so for fire management, it all is integrated together.

Pat:

That's right.

Tenisha :

You look at Ridge road fire, the grass was so high an unstoppable fire came through and hundreds of people lost almost everything. They lost houses they lost. But when the fire got to a grazed area, they could, could , they could get that fire stocked and it saved homes with all of the other land that had not been grazed. It was fuel and fuel to the fire and made it unstoppable when it was to a grazed spot in the grass, it was stoppable.

Jessica :

So, the beef industry is , is extremely important is what I'm gathering from you ladies. And it has a very big impact on our local economy. Um, later on in this podcast, I'll talk about that , um , in a recording that I will give on a report on how much our local economy , uh, gains from , uh , the cattle ranchers in our area. Uh, but before we end this, I was going to ask each of you what your goals are for this upcoming year in your positions with the Copper CowBelles.

Pat:

Well, as president, I will try to guide everybody to maintain their own individual knowledge of this industry. U m, we need to become more politically active and, and more vocal, more outspoken. We need to educate as much as we can and I think the tone of the meetings i s g oing t o change a little bit in that I, I'm g oing t o encourage them to watch Facebook, u m, for negative comments and misconceptions for the beef industry and, and take a more active outlook on speaking up. U m, we will continue to give back to our community. We will have our scholarships offered. We hope t o, we will have our family dance again this year. We will be out at the County Fair and u m, one of the things that we do at the County Fair is a participate with the Grant County Cattle Growers who buy a, u h, one of the steers at the livestock show and that we pay, we usually we contribute to that u h, program and the m eat is a cut and wrapped and distributed to the local, u m, home family, home economic teachers at the high schools to give those students there opportunity to learn about beef and actually cook with it.

Jessica :

Awesome. Judy?

Judy:

Um , as vice president, I am to support Pat and any of her endeavors and then membership, trying to keep what we've got and also grow the membership a little bit. Um, so I personally want to , um , get some information out about the stewardship of land owners , ranchers, farmers , um, and how much nature means in that and that we value , um, as those residents of Grant County. Cause sometimes there's a misconception that we don't care about the land and that is just so far from the truth. Um, so that's one of my personal goals as a vice president.

Jessica :

If people wanted to join the Copper Cowbelles, how can they do that? We have a monthly meetings and we're open to anyone that wants to come and participate. I think the dues are $30. The dues go for some local and more for a state thing. And then we have the fundraising thing . So it's a great thing for anyone to get involved in that wants to be active in beef education. The scholarship program. Um , stewards of the land.

Pat:

Copper Cowbelles are on Facebook. And we also have a , a website that you can Google and find us and we're part of the New Mexico CowBelles, which is a state group. And then it's a national organization also.

Judy:

And you can call any of us.

Jessica :

Yes. Perfect. And Jeanette , how about you? What are your goals?

Jeanette:

I got my goals way back in the day when I was in high school. I'm on the rodeo team. I was, I was a 4-Her, I was in FFA, I was their secretary. Um, and I would like to see , uh , us bridge that little gap between us and the teenagers and the kids in the school because it made such a positive impact on me cause the, it , there's so much more to it than just a cow really. There, it's , it's a way of life and it's a good way of life. I'd like to see that and I'm here to help anybody that would like to reach out and, and learn more.

Jessica :

Awesome. You Tenisha?

Tenisha :

Um , my goal this year is, is like these ladies said to help increase the numbers of Cowbelles that we have out, but being one of the youngest Cowbelles it'd be nice to have some younger women join that could keep Cowbelles going. A tradition is dying with our ranching and we're not gonna, we're not even able to keep that alive without others helping to step up and reach out.

Jessica :

I think I've heard that now people are about three, three generations removed now from the family farm family ranch. Now is that what you've heard? That there's a big, big gap there and it's very, very evident. Um , so we , we take that pretty serious here at the extension office as well and trying to get that education out there. Uh, if you have any questions about the copper cowbells or how you can get involved or any questions about , uh, New Mexico beef, Grant County beef or beef in general , um, you can give our office a holler and that information is at the end of this podcast and we'll be happy to help you. Um, I really appreciate you ladies for taking the time and , uh , visiting with me on my podcast!

Sound Effect :

[Cow mooing]

Jessica :

That was a great interview that I just had with the newly elected officers of the Copper Cowbelles. I have a little bit of a soft spot for cattle ranchers. I have to say my grandfather was a cattle rancher in Catron County . Um, and our ranch has been in our family for over a hundred years. So I have a very big soft spot in my heart for cattle ranchers and the, the ranching , um, industry. Um, as I said in the podcast, I wanted to talk a little bit about the actual economic impact and what has happened in cattle ranching in the past few years. So let's talk a little bit about New Mexico agriculture. I took this information from the 2017 census that came out. I also used some numbers out of the 2018 New Mexico Ag statistics book that just came out. So , uh, there's about 40,000 Ag producers in the state. From 2012 to 2017 there was an increase of about 4,000 female Ag producers, so that's a good thing. Um, however, in 2012 there were 663 producers under the age of 25. 2017 only 550. In 2017 there were approximately 22,000 Ag producers, aging 55 to 74 years old. A little over half of the producers in the state are over 55. That's a big problem for not only New Mexico, but also the United States as well. New Mexico cattle and calf sales increased by 13,000 head and between 2012 and 2017 and in 2017 there was 18.3% less farms and ranches than there were in 2012 in the state of New Mexico alone. In 2017 there were almost 3000 young producers in the state, but almost 2000 of those have off farm and ranch income. As for the new or beginning producers in the state, there are a little over 10,000 but over 7,000 of those also have off farm or ranch income, meaning that it is really hard to produce this type of product without additional income that does not come from the farm or ranch. So let's look at 2019 versus 2018 in 2018 there were 1.5 million head of cattle in the state of New Mexico with the value of $1,300 per head. One year later in 2019 we have 1.4 8 million head of cattle with a value of just over $1,000 per head in one year. That is a $250 a head loss. That's a lot here in Grant County. From 2018 to 2019 we decreased by 200 head just in Grant County alone, the value lost was $5 million. I'm going to say it again. The value lost was $5 million in one year. Um, in 2017 there was 308 people in Grant County that were hired labor by our farmers and ranchers gaining an income from them. From 2012 to 2017 we lost 56 farms and ranches in five years just here in Grant County. So I wanted to give you a , an idea of exactly how important this industry is, not only to the state of New Mexico, but to our local economy here. They hire people that work on their ranches, that are providing for their families, that have kids that go to our schools and shop in our local , uh , stores around town. So it's very, very important to keep this dying breed, if you will, going and with the age of the American farmer or rancher rising, it's become a very big problem in trying to replace these , um, these very knowledgeable producers with a younger population of producers to take their place. So I hope that was a little bit of insight into what the Copper Cowbelles do. Um , they're very instrumental in a lot of those aspects in terms of trying to spread the word of beef, trying to spread the word of Grant County producers and , uh , how, how much they contribute to our local economy and just really trying to dispel some myths and things, and some misconceptions that are out there about the beef cattle industry. So thank you for tuning in today. I look forward to the next one. Thanks everyone for listening. If you enjoy this podcast, don't forget to hit the subscribe button on Apple podcast, Stitcher, Google play, or whatever app you're using to listen to this podcast. Want more information? You can visit us at our website, grantextension.nmsu.edu follow us on Facebook at NMSU, Grant County, CES, Snapchat at Grant County NM 4-H, shoot us an email at [email protected] or give us a call, (575) 388-1559 New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer and educator. NMSU and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Song and Sound Effect Credit: Song Credit Hooky with Sloane by Bird Creek Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported— CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/... Music provided by FreeMusic109 https://youtube.com/FreeMusic109 Music : MNC Music No Copyright Channel all free music to use in your videos http://linkshrink.net/7ZBb8V ✔️ Music No Copyright 🎵